Press-Republican

Local News

September 13, 2010

Students need math, science focus for green jobs

PLATTSBURGH — Education, specifically a focus on math and science, will help students prepare for a growth in green-technology jobs.

That was one of the conclusions when the North Country Workforce Investment Board unveiled its Green Collar Jobs Initiative Monday morning.

Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Paul Grasso said the report is the beginning of an ongoing focus on how the growth of green jobs will impact the North Country.

He said that what the Workforce Investment Board has heard about the green-job workforce is what it hears about any job.

"It's about the quality of the person who comes through the door," Grasso said.

That makes it important for students to develop skills — in this case a focus on math and science skills — from the time they start school.

INDUSTRY INPUT

CITEC President and CEO Bill Murray said the report was put together with input from sectors such as manufacturing, education, health care, energy generation, government, tourism, transportation, construction, agriculture, telecommunications and consulting/engineering services.

He reiterated the need for students to focus on math and science skills to prepare for green jobs.

"No smoking gun came out of this report," he said.

GREEN-COLLAR JOBS

Workforce Investment Board Chair John Van Natten said the 21st century is the time to build an inclusive green economy that benefits neighborhoods, working families and the planet.

"You can think about a green-collar job as a blue-collar job that's been upgraded, or up-skilled, to better respect the environment."

He said the Workforce Investment Board will use the report to develop education and job-training programs that improve social equity and provide pathways out of poverty for our residents while strengthening the middle class by equipping workers for high-demand jobs in the green economy.

LOCAL INITIATIVES

"I think we're once again getting ahead a lot of other areas with this report," Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said.

He said the report provided strong acknowledgement that the region is already in the green business because of its mass-transportation sector and the future of aerospace development at Plattsburgh International Airport, he said.

Douglas said the report also shows the possibility of making existing jobs more environmentally friendly. The region can bring new practices and new thinking to the jobs that are already here.

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